A New Year!
The old 2016 is gone, and we entered once more in a brand new year! In Bozoum the beginning is calm but full of joy.
On December 31st at 5.00pm we celebrate the Eucharist thanking God for the gift of life and, above all, for His faithful presence. We have dinner with the Sisters, and after watching a nice movie, around 10pm we go to sleep. It seems that even without our support, the New Year has begun! Here in Bozoum most of the people spent the night dancing, singing, without missing the shots ... which fortunately did not do damage, with the advantage of wasting ammunition and more, which could be used with risky malicious intent.
Sunday January 1st, we all meet at the church for the Celebration, while for several days we hear people wishing here and there "Happy New Year”.
On Monday morning I leave going towards North visiting other Missions mostly directed by Capuchin Friars. The whole area is infested by armed gangs. The tension there is very high. Just two days after we did pass through, a member of UN Peacemaker was killed, at 30 Km from Bocaranga. Arriving at Bocaranga barrier we find the Gendarmes together with the Antibalaka rebels. At Ndim the sisters tell me that people have a lot of fear, to the point that they no longer go to the hospital.
I reach in the evening Ngaundaye located 205 Km from Bozoum. Here I meet Fr. Piotr, which tells me that the activities are almost paralyzed because of the rebels. He was unable to celebrate Christmas Mass in the villages, because the rebels didn’t allow to. I also meet the sisters, including one native of my own village Vinadio (CN), Sr. Renata Dutto. The conversation came out multilingual: French, Piedmontese and Polish. I went to visit Francis’s farm too, an 84 year old Capuchin, who walks with a help of a cane, but when he is on the fields abandons the cane and goes ahead almost running. Are many years that among other things he deals also with grafting: he has selected more than 30 varieties of mangoes!
The next morning we go back, stopping by Ndim, where the schools just reopened. Here too there are the teachers formed in September by the NGO SIRIRI of Prague, with the "learn by playing” method. I visit the elementary classes, and I can see that the kids begin to read and write in Sango. Around 7.30pm we are in Bozoum after driving 410 km of roads very devastated, and being victims three times of flat tires.
During these days I am able to prepare the Bozoum newspaper, "Le Saint Michel". Here it is:
|i manghi innestati di Fra Francesco|
les manguiers greffés du frère Francesco
|con l'aiuto del maestro|
avec l'aide du maitre
|e da solo|
et maintenant tout seul
un antibalaka à Bocaranga